As snow begins to blanket the mountains, recreationists are reminded of a long-practiced tradition on Big Mountain.
In an effort to continue access to public lands and provide for public safety, Flathead National Forest and Whitefish Mountain Resort are reminding skiers and snowboarders to follow the mountain’s uphill policy. The U.S. Forest Service special order requires uphill skiers to keep their distance from grooming machines and snowmaking equipment and follow route restrictions.
Route and timing restrictions took effect Nov. 23. The policy is in effect 14 days prior to opening day of the resort, Dec. 7, and remains in effect 14 days after closing fay, April 8.
In preparation for opening day, snowmaking and grooming operations are ongoing as conditions allow. Resort officials remind the public that equipment such as snow guns, hoses, grooming machines, snowmobiles and high voltage lines can present real and serious hazards to skiers and must be avoided.
Any uphill travelers not following the special order can be ticketed and face up to a $100 fine for a first offense and stiffer penalties for repeat offenders. Pre-season and post-season dogs must be on a leash, during ski season dogs are prohibited.
Parking for uphill skiers is limited to the Spruce Lot only.
The following is an excerpt from U.S. Forest Service Special Order:
It is prohibited for any skier, hiker, or person otherwise, to approach within 100 feet of grooming machines, whether stationary or moving; or 50 feet of snowmaking equipment, to include but not limited to fan guns, high-pressure water lines, and high-voltage electrical cables.
Pre & Post Season Regulations:
This is in effect for 14 days before and after the scheduled “Opening Day” or “Closing Day” of Whitefish Mountain Resort.
The East Route – Open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. is the only approved route for uphill and downhill traffic. There are no uphill or downhill route restrictions before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m. pre- and post-season.
The East Route begins at Spruce Parking Lot, crosses the bridge toward the Ski and Ride School and Clinic building and ascends lower Inspiration, Expressway, Moe-Mentum, and Fill Hill to the summit. It is marked by 12-inch red diamonds with an arrow and the word “UPHILL” printed on them. There are no uphill or downhill route restrictions before 8 am and after 4 pm pre- and post-season.